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Hopkins-Kovalev 24/7 Episode Recap

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Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev got the HBO 24/7 treatment, and both men gave fight fans a deeper look into their beings on Saturday night, after we saw another demolition job by the Kazahk wrecking ball Gennady Golovkin.

Kovalev is another wrecking ball sort, while Hopkins is a medical marvel and physical freak, still fighting at world class level just ahead of his 50th birthday.

We heard Hopkins filibustering, talking about how he started peaking late and is a freak of nature. We saw Hopkins in clips from his lengthy career, including from his last outing, against Beibut Shumenov.

Hopkins, we see, gets tested by a doc, who does a brain scan on the freak o nature. He wears a lime green alien mask on while a nurse checks him out. The fighter said he was off the charts on reflex tests, and his trainer Naazim Richardson calls him “a rare breed.”

The doc says his health is that of a “20 year old.” Kovalev says he doesn’t care. He says Alien sounds like the Russian word for deer, and he says the old man will end up like roadkill. The Russian says that “dreams comes true in America,” but we hear that the hitter hated the politics in the Russian amateurs, and was fighting deep on undercards early on as a pro. His manager Egis Klimas recalls that everyone turned down signing the kid. He thought about quitting boxing, but then in 2012, Kathy Duva gave him a look. Duva says that Klimas said he would be the best at 175.

Kovalev fought Blake Caparello his last time out, and Hopkins watched from ringside. The Russian said a win will bring him to a true promised land. We shall see, Hopkins says. Hopkins, we next see, likes pool workouts. “It’s therapy for me,” he says. He says that he has now learned to save energy, not do endless workouts anymore.

Hopkins eats at a cafe regularly, and he doesn’t eat crap in between bouts, but instead stays trim and sharp.

Mrs. Kovalev is of child, we see, and will have a boy. The fighter goes with her for a checkup, but must leave for camp shortly. They will all live in the US, not Russia, where he grew up, and washed cars, sold papers, and gave the dough to his mum. He told his mom he didn’t steal the money. “For my boy, it will be very different,” he says.

He laughs when seeing the baby’s testes on an ultrasound pic.

The missus is sad he won’t see the baby born but she says she understands the gravity of the fight.

Hopkins next talks about Joe Frazier, who he sees as a real Rocky. He helped get a Frazier statue erected, out of respect. We hear about the Hopkins-Richardson tandem, and it is based on mutual respect, they both agree.

Hopkins tells a kid some smart stuff after sparring, telling him to use the lead arm and shoulder as a turtle shell.

Over in Big Bear, CA., Kovalev runs, and says he likes the fresh air and altitude. “I have the focus here for two, three workouts a day,” he says. “I’m going to do everything to get my next victory.”

From 2006-2010, John David Jackson helped in Hopkins’ corner but now he works with Sergey. He says he tells Sergey HE MUST set the pace. “Let’s knock this emeffer out and get this over with,” he tells Kovalev.

The Russian sees Hopkins as being an ace still, and he sees it as a stiff test. JDJ says he was starving as a youth and coming up, so now he’s hungry, because he wants to stay on this sort of stage.

Hopkins says he doesn’t fear anybody, and when you don’t fear anyone, they fear you, because they sense your lack thereof.

We wrap up with a comparison: one has desire, the other astounding discipline. What wins out Nov. 8, in Atlantic City?

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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